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Manifold challenge for Team Shah

It’s said that it’s easier to win a throne than defend it. Having won the Lok Sabha polls handsomely under the stewardship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the challenge before the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now is to retain the aura of the victor for the party.  How daunting is the challenge, is evident from the fact that the prime minister has pitched for his most trusted lieutenant Amit Shah as the party president to keep guard of his mantle.

Shah in turn has announced his team of the office-bearers, who would assist him in keeping the morale of the party cadres high as several states, where BJP has a lot at stake, would be going for the assembly polls in the next few months. The party has already suffered a few bruises having lost all three seats in the bypolls for the Uttarakhand assembly and subsequently faring very poorly in the local body polls in the state. Such reverses happened despite the party having bagged all the five parliamentary seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

The team chosen by Amit Shah looks to be focused on winning the upcoming assembly polls and retaining some of its lost turf. It has also tried to retain the ‘tana-bana’ (woof and warf) of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) cadres working together, which did wonders for the party in the Lok Sabha polls. The presence of a large number of former activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on the panel like Jagat Prakash Nadda and former RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav as general secretaries sends a message of the party remaining rooted in its ‘nationalist’ ideology as espoused by the Sangh.

Narendra Modi’s ascendance has already led to political realignments in the political arena bringing together sworn enemies. Coming together of the likes of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar in Bihar cannot be overlooked. The party also cannot ignore the fact that its presence in a large number of states continues to be negligible and this in turn could potentially keep the Modi government always in a minority in the council of states (Rajya Sabha), making it negotiate with the adversaries for the purposes of governance.

Shah’s team thus has quite a challenge at hand to make the BJP a party which would matter beyond the Lok Sabha. The health of the party in the states where it’s in power is not exactly robust; it faces charges of corruption. In the last few years BJP lost Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as it could not effectively counter charges of corruption and also control infighting within the party. The recent loss in Uttarakhand bypoll has been attributed to the same malaise.

The challenge before Team Shah is manifold and it would need multi-tasking to overcome the odds.
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